6 Ways To Respond To A Gift You Don’t Like

Gifts are fun to give and receive, but few things are more awkward than getting a gift you just don’t like. We’ve all experienced that tense moment when you unwrap something unexpected, unwanted, or just plain absurd. When it happens, you might find yourself struggling to find the right words to smooth over the troublesome situation.

Thank you is the customary response when someone gives you a present. The word thank has been a part of the English language for a long time. It was recorded before 900, and it means “an expression of appreciation or gratitude or an acknowledgment of services or favors given.”

While you can never go wrong by thanking someone for their generosity in giving you a gift, you usually have plenty more to say when you’re truly delighted by a present. You might elaborate on how much you wanted it, why it’s great, and how excited you are to have gotten it. But if you don’t like a present, what do you say instead? Do you admit it’s not your style or feign excitement? Perhaps you don’t need to do either one. Keep reading for the best responses to use when you don’t think you have anything nice to say.

“That’s so thoughtful!”

It’s the thought that counts, right?

Dating back to at least the mid-1100s, thoughtful means “showing consideration for others; considerate.” The word implies someone is looking out for another’s comfort or happiness, which is exactly what’s happening when a gift is given. Whether you unwrap a copy of that amazing novel you really wanted or a hideous sweater, you can’t go wrong in praising someone’s thoughtfulness just for having you on their gift list.

“I love the color.”

You may not the love the gift itself, but there’s a good chance you can still find something fabulous about it. Maybe it’s a great color, or it was made by your favorite brand. The word love was first recorded in English before the year 900, and it has many meanings. One of them is a “strong predilection, enthusiasm, or liking for anything.” Find that one special thing about the gift that you have strong enthusiasm for, and praise it.

“I’m overwhelmed!”

When you open a bad gift, you might be overwhelmed by emotions. The good news is you don’t necessarily have to say whether those emotions are good or bad. Overwhelmed is a synonym of thankful that means “overcome completely in mind or feeling.” People have been using it to describe their intense feelings since at least the 1300s, so you’ll be in good company if you pull this one out at the family Christmas party.

“I really appreciate this.”

Appreciate means “to be grateful or thankful for” or “to value or regard highly.” It comes from the Medieval Latin appreci?tus, orvalued, appraised.” Even if a particular gift isn’t your cup of tea, you can likely still find some value in it. That’s where this word comes in. You can always tell a gift giver how much you appreciate their gesture, and you’ll still be telling the truth about how you feel.

“It’s so unique!”

So the gift you just unwrapped is a little out of the ordinary. Some people might call that unique. Unique entered English near the beginning of the 1600s, and originally meant “single, sole” or “having no equal.” By the mid-19th century, unique had developed a wider meaning as “not typical” or “unusual.” Standing out from the crowd isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and if you aren’t sure what to say about someone’s interesting taste in gifts, this might be the perfect way to express your gratitude for their quirky offerings.

“You’re too kind.”

If you truly can’t figure out the right thing to say, try this: ignore the gift, and focus instead on the person behind it. First recorded before 900, kind means “of a good or benevolent nature or disposition, as a person.” Ultimately, giving someone a gift is an act of kindness, so expressing gratitude for someone’s good and benevolent nature in remembering to get you a present may just be the most genuine response you can have.


On the other hand, when a friend shows off their ... unique set of new clothes, and be prepared to drop the insincere compliments and use one of these words instead.

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